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Is it too late for a triple-screening (AFP) test?

1301 Views 5 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  Electra375
I am 21 wks + 1 day pregnant. I was planning on not taking the alpha fetal protein test because it wouldn't make a difference to us because we would never terminate our pregnancy. Dh has a half sister that had birth defects and I have a sister with down's syndrome.

We didn't want the stress of having to worry for the next 5 months if the tests were a false positive. But I have been thinking about it a lot and I ask myself... what if the baby does have some sort of problem? I mean if we know ahead of time then we can choose a better equiped hospital with the right specialists and pediatricians to take care of a baby with special needs, kwim?

Here is my question: Is it too late to take the test? I think I can live with the stress of a false positive but I wouldn't be able to forgive myself if my baby has problems at birth and the doctors or the hospital are not prepared to handle the situation correctly.

I called the lab were I would have the test done and they said to come in and have it done anyway... even if it is a little late. They told me that I should be tested before 21 wks but a few days late are acceptable.

Wouldn't this affect the results?

Dh thinks that as long as they get paid for performing the test they don't really care if the results turn out to be valid or not.
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I'm pretty sure it's too late for you to take the test. Your lab values would be out of whack. At least that's what my OB told me when I forgot (conveniently) to take the AFP test when I was pregnant with Hunter. Oh, well. Check with your doc. She/He will let you know.
I think it's too late.

Wouldn't an ultrasound identify many major things as well?
Considering that a 'positive' quad screen means that you automatically get a level 2 ultrasound...and given that the screen is solely based on placental hormones (which change with age--that's why there's a time limit on the test BOTH ways, too early and too late...and why it gets screwed up with multiples), I wouldn't bother.

If you are truly worried about chromosomal abnormalities (or structural ones, for that matter) I highly highly highly suggest a level 2 u/s. Yes, it is more expensive, but insurance is likely to cover it (or...if it needs to be indicated, take the screening test, which is sure to be abnormal, and that'll clear the way). Keep in mind, though, that many 'markers' of abnormalities that the tech is looking for DO NOT indicate for sure that there's anything wrong. Only an amnio can do that for sure.

I know a vomitrocious amount about screening tests/processes/ultrasounds/crap like that even though I'm not an medical professional. (It's a long story, relating to my twins, but I won't bore/frighten anyone with it here) Feel free to PM me if you want.

But mama, if you are seriously worried, please give some thought to the ultrasound and then jump through the hoops (like the screening test) if you need to.
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I agree with Kitty....If you are seriously worried about not having the tests done, then you will still be spending the rest of oyur pregnancy in a state of anxiety.

If you have the test now, it will most likely come back abnormal. But even if it doesn't, because you have a family history of Down syndrome and other birth defects, you should be able to get genetic counseling, and they would most likely be able to refer you for a level 2 u/s. I have a niece who has Down syndrome and spina bifida, and the last time I was pg (age 34 when baby was born), it seemed like the one dr's office I went to couldn't offer me genetic counseling enough. I consented to an u/s because we had a homebirth, and I was concerned with structural abnormalities.

Good luck with it all!
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I just asked my doctor about it and they initially said I'd have to come in tomorrow b/c I was 19 weeks prego. I reminded them that my LMP was a guess and that the ultrasounds (2 of them)say I am 16 weeks. So, I am going next week to get that done. Like you I it wouldn't change much, but it would allow the proper medical teams to be waiting if need be. I just haven't felt very good about this pregnancy, it's been scary and weird.
So, I'd have to say that 21 weeks is too far for the AFP. But second the suggestion for a level 2 ultrasound, you can request technicians with specialties at imaging centers.
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